Long Distance (LD) fleet replacement discussion (2022-23)

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Bob Dylan

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Besides the " It's not my job" Culture that seems to be the norm now days on Amtrak, as most know the NEC Trains, which are in constant use and mostly full, don't have Coach attendants, and the Conductors and Cafe LSA aren't going to clean Bathrooms!( the exception is FC on Acela, don't think I've ever seen a Foul Bathroom when riding in it!)

On the LD Trains, it's been my expierience that most Coach Attendants don't do a whole lot of work,( there are exceptions, but they are rare) mostly they are invisible or hanging out in the Food Service Car or the Transdorm.
 

Anderson

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I recall hearing that the B&O operated open sections later than most other railroads because its principal trains ran to Washington, and the government wouldn't compensate traveling federal employees for the full price of a roomette.
Seaboard was in the same situation. Part of it was DC, but part of it was that you had a bunch of military bases along the line (e.g. Camp Lejune).
 

UserNameRequired

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Hopefully one very easy solution here is what's been implemented on the Siemens Venture coaches for Amtrak Midwest - the bathrooms are in a vestibule that is separated from the coach by a sliding glass door.

My experience on the Lake Shore Limited - and I've had a conversation with one crew about this - is that the crew have absolutely zero interest in cleaning bathrooms. This might not be right, but the vestibule concept would provide at least some tangible progress.
Is the glass door separation really progress? I see it as mostly masking the problem. Won‘t the stench be even more concentrated when you do need to go use the toilet…, or move between cars… Sometimes our kids would leave out dirty dishes, then ants would come. Instead of picking up the dirty dishes they would spray ant killer all over the carpet and furniture, like that.
 

Willbridge

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Seaboard was in the same situation. Part of it was DC, but part of it was that you had a bunch of military bases along the line (e.g. Camp Lejune).
The Butte Special had four sections (8 berths) on its tri-weekly run. It appears that it was the last UP train with open sections. In the early 60's they were available on most secondary trains that carried sleepers.
 
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Imho the venture car toilets work better at removing the waste from the toilet bowl and preventing the smells from the holding tank reaching the bathroom area. I’ve ridden venture cars on round trips to STl and Pontiac, Michigan. In both cases thd toilets were cleaner for the duration of the trip. I have yet to encounter a venture toilet that was trashed the way horizon and amfleet toilets get trashed.
 
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Besides the " It's not my job" Culture that seems to be the norm now days on Amtrak, as most know the NEC Trains, which are in constant use and mostly full, don't have Coach attendants, and the Conductors and Cafe LSA aren't going to clean Bathrooms!( the exception is FC on Acela, don't think I've ever seen a Foul Bathroom when riding in it!)

Actually they now have cleaning attendants that work the NEC trains that you occasionally see - they walk the aisles collecting trash from people and are supposed to freshen the restrooms. It’s a relatively new thing - they may only do it between New York and Washington I’m trying to remember if I’ve seen them north of New York.
 

GDRRiley

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Are you certain that the figure you are using isn't meant to include some maintenance cost, like the earlier Airo ICT order did?
my understanding is it can be used used on service contracts. With service contracts the ~3B budget leftover after chargers 700-800 cars should be possible.
 
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Actually they now have cleaning attendants that work the NEC trains that you occasionally see - they walk the aisles collecting trash from people and are supposed to freshen the restrooms. It’s a relatively new thing - they may only do it between New York and Washington I’m trying to remember if I’ve seen them north of New York.
Yes, I've them passing through collecting trash, sometimes with a PA announcement to remind passengers to get things together for them. I didn't realize they also freshened the restrooms, too.
 
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Sounds like VIA is stepping in the ring too for their long haul routes - I'm sure it's no coincidence. I wonder if both VIA and Amtrak will end up coordinating on this.

 
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I believe they are called "enroute cleaners" and they have been there for some years now.



SUMMARY OF DUTIES:

En Route Cleaners (ERC) must be detailed oriented personnel who can follow direction and procedures. ERC are responsible for the cleaning trainsets while the trains are in transit (moving) between station stops. Primary responsibility for en route cleaners will be cleaning the restrooms with secondary responsibility to the rest of the train. The ERC shall perform the duties including but not limited to mopping, surface cleaning, and bathroom services. The ERC must be punctual, work well alone and at a fast pace.



ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS:

• Able to follow all Amtrak policies, standards and procedures as directed by Supervisor.

• Physically able to carry supplies, bend, reach, etc.

• Report supply shortages to Supervisor

• Report maintenance issues to the conductor or train attendant

• Responsible for stocking their own cleaning kit

• Will make any announcements as specified

• Willing to work nights, weekends, and occasional holidays.

• The En Route Cleaners will be responsible for the following areas:

Bathrooms:

• Use cleaning products/supplies, as directed

• Empty waste bins

• Remove debris from floor

• Sweep floors

• Mop floors

• Replenish consumable items (soap, toilet paper, hand towels, deodorizer disks)

• Clean toilets, hand basins, and sinks

Rest of the Car:

• Empty waste bins

• When walking through the car, remove any trash on the floor or in the seat backs of

unoccupied seats.

• If there are spilled liquids on seats, wipe and dry seats

• If the vestibule is wet from snow or rain, mop wet area
 

rickycourtney

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Sounds like VIA is stepping in the ring too for their long haul routes - I'm sure it's no coincidence. I wonder if both VIA and Amtrak will end up coordinating on this.

It wouldn't be surprising. We find ourselves in a rare moment where so many agencies seem to be in the market for new equipment. The larger the order -- the larger the base to spread fixed costs across.
 

Willbridge

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Sounds like VIA is stepping in the ring too for their long haul routes - I'm sure it's no coincidence. I wonder if both VIA and Amtrak will end up coordinating on this.

They tried coordinating before...
This 1984 photo shows VIA's Panorama in Edmonton. (On the left.)
1984 108 (2).jpg
 

Anderson

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They tried coordinating before...
This 1984 photo shows VIA's Panorama in Edmonton. (On the left.)
View attachment 31262
IIRC they shared Superliners on the International for quite some time. Then an accident happened and Canada banned them (well, mostly - they've run on the Cascades a few times as an equipment sub, but that's not a "normal" situation and the issues on the International are probably at least part of why they've gotten stuck with Horizons instead of Superliners).
 

rickycourtney

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Could cars be made any longer or is 85ft pretty much the maximum practical length? Even just 5 more feet seems like it'd be enough for another Bedroom.
Looking at the freight railcar builders it looks like the current maximum length is 90ft. Not sure if that would be compatible with all of Amtrak’s infrastructure, but it’s the theoretical maximum.
 

Anderson

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Looking at the freight railcar builders it looks like the current maximum length is 90ft. Not sure if that would be compatible with all of Amtrak’s infrastructure, but it’s the theoretical maximum.
NB Siemens is developing passenger trains with car lengths right under 95ft. Now, I don't know how compatible that is with general infrastructure (either Amtrak or host RR), but it is worth noting. And yes, up in that 90-95 foot range you start getting some options (an extra bedroom, an extra pair of roomettes, additional diner tables...).
 

jis

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This is just a guess, but if there is a problem it will occur at NYP with its tight clearances if you go over 85ft.
Since Brightline is considering the Novos for operation between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, probably what the imitations on the NEC are do not matter as much, as long as they do not apply in the west.
 
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IDK, but then the majority of people in coaches and sleepers are on the upper level and they would all have to head to the lower level to pass between cars.

If the dining room is on the lower level, kitchen would be on the upper. Then all the food supplies would have to hauled upstairs.

You would not have a Superliner anymore since all the machinery is housed in the lower ends, though the trans-dorm is somehow designed differently on one end. You would wind up with soemthing like commuter bi-level car, totally unsuitable for a long distance car.
 

JWM

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As much as I congratulate OBB Nightjet and Siemens for their phenomenal success and upcoming new cars, I have to state my doubts that the couchette and compartments are practical for our long-distance trains. Ideally, the sleeping cars would have their own lounge car (Hello, "Pacific Parlour Car") and the dining car would be large enough to open it to coach passengers thereby enhancing revenue. Whatever negatives the Superliners have, they are ideal for our western and "Capitol Limited" runs. Joining up with Via for new equipment for the "Canadian", "Ocean" and Churchill trains could be a "win-win" for both of us.
 

rickycourtney

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Honestly, with the concerns about equitable access for people with disabilities, I think double-decker cars are gonna be a non starter. The only way it would work is if a manufacturer can add an elevator that would be reliable to work while traveling at full speed over rough tracks. Plus Amtrak would need to agree to the added cost of maintaining that.

I think we are gonna end up with another batch of equipment from Siemens… either with a design adapted from European equipment, or Venture carshells adapted to the requirements for each car type.
 

John Santos

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Would moving the gangways, diner, and cafe to the lower level be possible and comply with the ADA?
I'm not absolutely certain, but I think the floor of the lower level of most or all bilevel cars is lower than the axle. The only way that it could work is with very small wheels (which would be much bumpier) or split axles where the left wheel and right wheel were independently mounted on short axles and the aisles and gangways were between instead of above the wheels. Since the rails are 4'8 1/2" apart (56.5") and the axles and walls of the cars would have to have some thickness (at least a foot, I would say), the aisles could be no more than 44" wide. If the wheels have to pivot, then they need extra clearance, maybe another 6" on each side, meaning the aisle could only be about 32", which probably violates ADA standards. This would be mechanically complex, non-standard and probably very expensive.
I think the only sensible solution is single level cars, high-level platforms, and automatic bridge plates where the gap is too wide because the station is on a curve or they need extra clearance for freight trains.
 

jis

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MODERATOR'S NOTES: A number of posts discussing Sleeper ideas that are quite unlikely to find their way into the current RFP have been moved to the Future Sleeper ideas thread:


Please post only things relevant to the current RFP cycle in this thread and any other more exotic thoughts on the "Future Amtrak sleeper ideas" thread.

Thank you.
 
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